*appeal for employment of more teachers to enhance learning
By; MKPUMA ENYINNA, Abakaliki
Education Officers, teachers among others in Ebonyi State have expressed joy and satisfaction over Early Child Development (ECD) training organized by United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) to equip teachers handling pre-primary school classes with modern teaching methodologies, skills and lesson plans that will upgrade their knowledge in handling the ECD classes.
The five days training which started from May 2 and ended on May 6, 2022, was organized by United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Universal Basic Education Board (UBE), ook place at Owutu Edda Central School, Afikpo South local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
According to the director in-charge of UNICEF Assisted programmes in Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Christogunus Nweke said, the training is local government based, stating that the participants were selected by the local government education officers who are directly in charge of the teachers at the local government level adding that UNICEF funded the training since 2018 in Ebonyi State, but the training is mainly focused on three LGAs that are being funded by UNICEF which include, Izzi, Ikwo and Afikpo South, drawn from each of the Senatorial zones.
Dr. Nweke also noted that the criteria is that ,all schools in Afikpo South must be represented, and should also ensure equity in the selection process and pay more attention at the caregivers who have never benefited in the programme before to ensure that the received proper training for effective teaching and learning.
He explained that the purpose of the training is to boast the capacity of teachers that teach in our pre-primary school centres; attached to government schools to enable them adapt to a modern appraoch called “Regio-Emillia Teaching Approach” to instructional delivery.
“The training is local government based. Participants were selected by the local government education officers who are directly in charge of the teachers at the local government.
“The criteria is that all schools in Afikpo South must be represented, and should also ensure equity in the selection process and pay more attention at the caregivers who had never benefited in the programme before,” he explained.
When asked about the challenges ahead of them, he said they range from structural, institutional and teaching problems, saying that the sources of learning materials have always posed challenges to academic institutions, since schools and communities do not replace their learning materials after use, calling on government to recruit more teachers for a comprehensive teaching and learning in schools across the state.
“Some of the challenges are structural, teaching, Institutional among others.
“The problem of learning materials has always been in the education sector principally because many materials are consumables, and most of the times, when these materials are selected and used,the schools and communities do not replace this learning materials again.
“So, based on the impact of instructional materials in effective teaching and learning more especially at the ECD level.We integrated the development of instructional materials,the“ Regio-Emillia Teaching Approach” so that the will be able to produce some of this learning materials such as toys and other play materials to make sure there is no gap between what government provided and what is needed in the schools.
“I am confident that the skills the have aquired in the cause of this training, the are going to apply it, and if any of them did not apply it;we have already sensitized quality assurance department at the local government to step up monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the teachers utilized them.
“We have been able to build capacity to ensure that the local government education authorities actually replicate it as well as state government.
`Especially, we have been able to mainstream this method in the annual UBEC Funded Teachers Capacity Development. In fact, it is a very big achievement.
“Basically, I would want government to ensure that more teachers are recruited because they number of teachers have decreased.
“I also want to appeal to communities to step up their efforts in partnering with government to run schools and ensure that community teachers are employed.”he said.
On his part, one of the facilitators, Dr. Stanley Ikoro, said the training was to step down the Rejio-Emillia Teaching Method” for teachers handling ECD classes at preprimary school level to be well edified on skills to develop Daily teachers plan among others.
“Today’s training is quite successful.Today is the 5th day,they teachers have been drilled on the methodology;the skills and the lesson plan which we call “Daily Teacher’s Plan”on how the will manage the school each day.It has been impressive and the have learnt a lot today.
“It is meant for those handling our ECD classes to enable them teach those children adequately at pre-primary school level.ECD means “Early Child’s Development.”
“I am confident that it will impact positively on the children through their teachers.We are going to embark on monitoring to ensure quality output from the teachers.”
He however, advised government authorities not to transfer the trained teachers to other schools, but to allow them stay up to five years before transfer, to enable them impact on the children.
“My challenge is that, those that have been trained may not be allowed to remain in the same school, they may be transferred to another school. I have pleaded with the education secretary to allow them remain for at least five years,” he revealed.
While expressing their feelings about the training, Mrs.Onyike Nnenna, an ECD teacher at Nkpoholo Primary School, Itim Eda Afikpo South, said the refresher training is about handling ECD classes with materials available in their environment using Regio-Emillia method.
“We have been trained before, now we are refreshing and developing what we have forgotten. Handling this children is not easy because you have to bring it down to their level.
Others like Mrs. Elizabeth Nwogu and Okoro Rosslyn noted that the training is wonderful because it is an eye opener to them, noting that it enhances their knowledge on how to handle the children with the local materials available in order to impact knowledge on them and they children will exploit it to bring out something meaningful.
Earlier in his remarks, the Afikpo South Education Secretary, Comrade Oti Ogene applauded the efforts of UNICEF in collaboration with Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) for organizing the training for teachers in the area, stating that he has set up a committee to ensure full implementation.
“I am satisfied with the way our teachers were trained because it helps to equip the caregivers with the necessary knowledge on how to handle the children under their care.
“Before now, they didn’t know between their left and right, but I am happy that they are fully equipped with the requisite knowledge as caregivers.
“In order to ensure commitment and effective teaching and learning, I send my quality assurance team to go round the various schools to supervise the roles they are playing under my watch.
“I want appeal to the state government to recruit more teachers. When we went to UBEB, they instructed us to ensure that every school has at least six teachers and I am doing my best to ensure that we maintain that from primary one to six.”